How sponsoring a child led me on a trip of a lifetime

Some summers are spent in a whirlwind of family visits and beach days, while this has been a summer whose memories will stay with me forever.

Goats for Kelele

Why? Because I had the great privilege of accompanying Elena and Martina – my daughter and her international baccalaureate classmate, as well as her friend Clarita – to Uganda. Elena and Martina had helped raise funds for a herd of goats for a group of Ugandan single mothers from the NGO KELELE AFRICA , so we headed there to supervise the purchase of the 10 goats and help in any way we could. The idea of ​​this initiative is to promote self-sufficiency and financial stability among the fragile women involved. Many will be able to create a home for themselves and their children, others will send them to a boarding school for education and other modest plans that would otherwise be impossible. Exciting update! Since our return three of those 20 goats are about to give birth and thus begins the cyclical project!

While we were there we also entertained ourselves with class games, instructing local teachers on how to use donated European games and teaching materials, and repainting the water tank. In addition, we had some money left over from purchasing the herd of goats, so the girls bought 100 mattresses and 100 blankets for the most vulnerable families in the town. We delivered all of these donations personally and it was very rewarding to see the gratitude firsthand. I couldn’t be more proud of the girls for all their hard work to bring this GOAT project to light . They are very excited about the initiative and knowing that they are helping to improve the lives of many people in this impoverished community.

Sponsor a child’s education

One of the reasons why my daughter thought of financing this project in this area and with this specific NGO is because she knew that I had sponsored Exavious for a few years, who is a former student of the Kumwenya School, from this part of Uganda. I live and breathe education, and a few years ago I decided to put my money where my mouth is, knowing that for a few hundred euros a year I could make a real difference to the life of a young person in Africa. Once a term I receive photos and a report card showing how Exavious has been doing, and at first my own son wrote to him too – it was a great way for him to practice his written English while learning about life and someone else’s culture.

Unfortunately, I was not able to meet with Exavious when I was there, as he was taking important exams during my stay. Uganda’s school system was one of the hardest hit in the world during the COVID pandemic , with more than two years of disruption to early childhood education. Many children did not return to the education system and some schools were lost forever, converted into farms or other workplaces. That’s why I know how important it is for Exavious to catch up in school. But I got to meet his lovely family, who are very grateful for my continued support. It was a very emotional experience to meet his parents in his small store. They were very excited to meet me and one of my children after so many years of contact.

I have loved being part of Exavious’s life and knowing that my relatively small contribution is making a huge difference not only to him and his family, but to Ugandan society and the economy as a whole. So I would like to encourage you too to consider sponsoring a child’s education in Uganda. You know how important a good school is for your child or children, and what better way to demonstrate your values ​​than by helping a disadvantaged boy or girl achieve their potential? Click here to learn how you can make a difference in a young person’s life . For less than €400 a year you can follow the academic progress of your sponsored child, perhaps until university! Think of it as an original gift for this upcoming Christmas.

How a CAS Project in Madrid will have a global impact

women goats uganda

How a CAS Project in Madrid will have a global impact

As many of you know – especially if you are in the International Baccalaureate field or your kids are – the CAS Project (Creativity, Activity, Service) is one of the key components of the IB Diploma Programme.

The idea is to encourage students to get involved in something creative & dig deep in themselves. To learn something new, to show initiative and grow in other ways, not just academically. And speaking to lots of IB teachers, I learned it can be a struggle for students to not only find the right project, but really make it stand out from the crowd.

A CAS Project with a difference

This year I’m particularly impressed by the CAS project of two students (Elena and Martina) of the THE GLOBAL COLLEGE, Madrid and wanted to tell you about it…

Boy with goat
Money raised will go towards buying a small herd of goats, building a shelter for them and training to help the local community

The Concept:
Together they decided to do something for their CAS that demonstrates real vision and passion. Elena, my daughter (proud mum moment), knew I worked with an ONG here in Spain called Kelele Africa (KA). Established 12 years ago (just like my business :-), KA founded a school in Uganda and Elena’s idea was to help this ONG with a sustainable farm project.

Furthermore, Martina who has a passion for singing and dancing, negotiated a special deal with her drama club The Glee Club Academy.

The Funding:
The Glee Club Academy produced “The Greatest Show” Musical here in Madrid from 21-25th June. The child stars were truly amazing. And thanks to owner Sonsoles & her team of actors, all proceeds for their final gig on Sunday 25th June went towards the girls’ project. They are so grateful to the Glee Club Academy stars, for their generosity in donating one of the performance days to the project.

Performance Greatest Show
The CAS project of a couple of the students of The Global College in Madrid not only entertained spectators but raised money for an important project in Uganda

The Project:
Money raised will go towards buying a small herd of goats, building a shelter for them and training to help the local community. It’s a sustainable project because the ladies who are chosen to look after the goat for the agreed 3 years, will ultimately have seven goats. Three of which they can keep and do with what they want. Most will sell them in order to buy a house for their family or send their older children to school. And the remaining goats are given back to the project for new chosen ladies of the communities.

Uganda Bound!

Finally, Elena & Martina, along with friend and pre-IB student Clara, will travel to Uganda in August to put the project into motion. Heartfelt thanks to all those who have already contributed to the cause ❤️.

Special thanks goes to Peter Odoi from Goat Project Uganda who shared his knowledge about the intricacies of buying and breeding goats in that part of the world. It’s not as straightforward as one might think! He has his own legacy project in the same country which you can read about here.

Peter Odoi from Goat Project Uganda has been incredibly supportive and helpful

My involvement? Well being minors, someone had to take them… so I get to be a volunteer too this summer 🙂

I’ll do a follow up post from Uganda and if you want to help, there is a “donate” button on – please enter “GLEE” and it will go directly to the CAS project.

Meanwhile if you’d like to find out more about how your child could benefit from studying abroad, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

The benefits to your child of a Transition Year

transition year

The many benefits a Transition Year will bring to your child

Giving your child the opportunity to experience personal growth is something you just can’t put a price on. And if you throw language acquisition into the mix then you’re onto a winner! And that’s why the TY – or Transition Year – is such a fundamental part of so many Irish families lives. It’s a fantastic way to help kids mature and develop new life skills to help them in their future.

transition year in Canada
Spending a Transition Year in Canada will not only give your child a chance to make great new friends but will also help with their personal growth

I’ve been offering my personalised TY service since 2016 and I’m always delighted to see the effect it has on the students. It takes a certain amount of bravery to step outside of your comfort zone and live in a new country for a while – especially when it involves speaking a language different from your native tongue.

Bespoke TY Plans That Will Bring Out The Best In Your Child

I tailor plans for students in France and Spain. Or, if language acquisition isn’t high on their priorities, then I also offer incredible trips to Canada or Australia. And each experience can be as sporty, academic or cultural as the child wishes. From improving rugby skills in Spain, swim squad in Australia, through to skiing practice in Canada – kids can develop their maturity, life skills and make lifelong friends while learning about other cultures and ways of living. If a whole year is a bit too much for you or your child, or of they have other obligations in their Irish school for TY, then just a term or few weeks can be arranged too! There’s an option for every student and depending on length of time and objectives, I will assist in making the right choice for your child.

transition year france
Typical boarding school excursions during the weekend – experiencing the sights & the culture of this beautiful country is way more enjoyable than learning the language in a classroom!

Well done to the class of 2023!

So bearing all this in mind, I want to congratulate the 2022-2023 students who came for a mixed amount of time, from a full year to various weeks. James, Cormac, Cillian, Julia, Zoe, Carlos, Tara, Hannah, Phillip, Eve, Ben, Lorcan, Lucy and Eabha made up the 14 fabulous students this year. Well done for leaving behind the safety and comfort of home and trying something completely different! The feedback that I received after the kids returned from their TY was resoundingly positive, with comments such as:

“We spoke to Ben properly at the airport for the 1st time in weeks. He really enjoyed the experience and played soccer after class with French and Intl students. He met lots of students his age and if it wasn’t for cricket he would loved to have stayed! Big thank you Mairi!”

“Thank u so much for looking after Julia so well. She had the best experience! And her host family were so so nice and kind to her all the time. T xx”

“Lorcan arrived home in one piece on Friday! Thankfully, there were no hiccups on the return trip (the french do like to strike!). He was delighted with his trip and loved his time in France. Thanks for all your work.”

Reach Out Today For Transition Year Details!

So whether your child wants to improve their language skills in France or Spain or prefers to opt for an English-based experience in Canada or Australia, reach out to find out what Transition Year possibilities are on offer. But hurry! Organising the perfect experience takes time – so make sure you avoid missing a great opportunity for your child and get in contact asap!

Transition Year Mairi Murphy
Reach out to me today to find out how your child could benefit from a TY experience abroad